Nightmare Fuel: Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent
set out to make one of the scariest games ever. They did.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
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Architecture & Levels
- The zone simply named "Archives" can be deeply unsettling the first time. Ambient noise is put to good effect and the deep-bellow of a monster can be heard at times as if it is around the corner, and in truth, there is nobody there. You are never in danger of dying here, but you may be afraid that you are. Also, the piano in the main hall may start being played while you are off in a side room.
- Three words: Back Hall Fountain. Ok, it's a bit creepy at first (Look at its face for God's sake!◊), but then it gets progressively worse◊. Not even the calm music playing in the background can save you now.
- The room where the first vitae experiments took place. It's essentially a taxidermy room, with a severed dog's head in it. The room immediately after that has a cupboard with at least 3 dead bodies, all nothing but bones. Plus, in the background, there's the sound of another dog yelping in pain.
- The torture chambers are packed to the brim with this. The accompanying diagrams do *not* help matters.
- A bronze bull that's hollow inside, with the makings of a campfire beneath it. The game explains precisely what the Baron and Daniel use this for, if the implication wasn't enough for players to get on their own. By all means — light the campfire set up beneath the bull. The result is here. Those bulls were not invented by the developers. Those things were actually used in real life.
- One thing people forget to mention is that the brazen bull was designed with a brass horn like instrument in its mouth. The horn sounded like a call of a bull. You can imagine that is hard to breath in the bull, so the occupant used the horn to inhale and exhale oxygen which gave it that horrible sound. The occupant would try to avoid the part that was in direct contact with the fire, but, because of the nature of metal and the fact the victim was usually naked, this did not help much. All that occurred was the victim prolonging their own life while entertaining or putting the fear of God into guests.
- The designer of the bull was killed when the King, who ordered it made, wanted to hear the horn (that was already installed in the device) tested. He slammed the door shut and burned the designer alive thus claiming the bull's first victim. Yeah, that's pretty horrifying to say the least. Supposedly, he did it because he felt the creator was a sick, sick man to make such a thing. Even more theoretically, he took the guy out before he died. Then, threw him off a cliff.
- Cramped cells that aren't even big enough to lie down in... and are conveniently connected via pipe at the ceiling to the cell next door, allowing the victim in Cell 1 to hear the agonized screams of the victim in Cell 2.
- A room that contains nothing more than a heavy, iron weight with chains attached to it, along with a pulley system connected to another set of chains. Just give the winch a few cranks and see what happens.
- A classic Iron Maiden, which pops open as you approach it, giving a Shining-esque sequence of blood spilling forth. The flashback contains textual Eye Scream.
- A place to string someone up by their legs... a diagram placed next to it shows two men using a lumberjack saw to saw from the groin to the chest... Also done in real life for apostasy. Adding to this was a flashback (thankfully, in text form rather than visual) in which the saw became lodged in the man's hip, and they couldn't get it loose.
- You know that pyramid-shaped object you find in one of the rooms? It's called the Judas Cradle, invented during the Spanish Inquisition. Want to know how it works? You hang the person by their torso and feet, they're stripped naked, and there are several techniques on how to use it. You can drop the victim onto the pyramid or slowly lower them onto the tip so that they sit there for an extended period of time. The pyramid is basically acting like a spreader. You want more details? Machines of Malice looked at it best and shows how it WORKED. (Please note, that it starts up about this particular piece at around 8:02.)
- Perhaps the most disturbing part is how Daniel willingly believed every assertion that the Baron told him in regards to their victims' crimes.
Daniel: *Cutting into the chest of a still-alive man*
Paint the man, cut the lines. Cut the flesh, watch the blood spill — let it come! *mockingly* "Please, I didn't do
anything! Blah Blah Blah
- This one's a bit of Fridge Horror, as you're not likely to notice it unless you're the type that double-checks everything: in the Cistern, there's a container. When you first go near it, you can hear incompherensible muttering from inside. When you turn the valves elsewhere in the room, water begins to pour in — and the muttering turns into anguished howling. Once all the valves are open, the voice goes silent. So apparently, by opening those valves you unintentionally drowned someone.
- More subtle than most of the examples here, but still quite worthy of noting: the game's Sanity Meter is a graphic of a brain, and if you mouse over it you get a brief description of your state. These descriptions can include stuff like "hands shaking and head pounding". If your sanity is low? "..." WHAT THE HELL.
- The Downer Ending of the game is this made even worse when you hear The shadow replay the voices of Daniel and Alexander's victims right before killing Daniel. And Daniel's screams DO NOT make anything better
- Just imagine the intense pain during the reforming into the grunts, including having to have your genitals ripped off or sewn together.
- The invisible monster in the flooded basement. Just to reiterate, one of the first and possibly scariest monsters in the game is one YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE. Old uncle Howard must be proud.
- The Prison Level. Most people give up in sheer terror because the place is swarming with monsters, and is very dark. The monsters literally seem to be everywhere.
- The worst part about the monsters is actually how they appear often enough and yet seldom enough to cause extreme panic and paranoia.
- Oh, and the deal about Alexander not having any female corpses around, and the ever famous Mr. Face? Mr. Face may have once been a woman. Look closely.
- While there's the possibility of Alexander having innumerable servants through the years, the bulging eye and twisted hand◊ and the messed up leg and distorted mouth◊ of the servants depicted in these diagrams from the torture rooms could suggest that Mr. Face and Mr. Tall have been around a long, long time.
- One document in the game lends some credence to the idea that they have been around for a while. It states that monsters had been part of the local folklore since at least the Thirty Years War, monsters that sound an awful lot like the grunts...
- "It feels like my chest is going to burst!" *rip*
- In the sewers, you can find the shattered body of the first humanoid monster that was pursuing you (by this time, another has shown up). What killed it? The Meat Moss? The other monster? Whatever it was, it gives you the willies to think of it. Although if you have a sick sense of humor, it's just nightmare retardant. Plus, you finally get to see what they look like.
- The grunt servant. What the hell is that?!
- Seems like they are Alexander's servants, and they were afflicted by the Shadow. Alexander can still maintain some control over them, as in the ambush at the end of the game. But, that's only when Alexander realizes you are in the castle. The rest of the time the servants want to kill you.
- Many signs indicate deliberate, careful mutilation rather than mutation caused by the Shadow. Alexander would have a need for servants who are absolutely loyal, easily sacrificial, and replaceable if needed, and capable of inflicting mad terror in their subjects just with their appearance. Grisly mutilation + alchemy = Mr. Face. They were presumably hooded or otherwise disguised around Daniel before the game, since he commented on their abnormal behaviour, but not appearance.
- Subtle one, but there are portraits of Alexander◊ scattered around the castle. Look at one with low sanity. Just try it◊. It can also act like a Nightmare Retardant if you realize he now looks like an owl with no feathers. Or it can make it worse when you realize that there are plenty of clues that suggest Alexander isn't human. Maybe his current form is a mask and that's his real face. It can be scary and silly at the same time. At least he looks like the monster he really is on the inside or at least Daniel's perception of that monster. This in turn raises another possibility: if that really is his true face, it's possible that the monsters are his attempt to emulate his kind's form in humans, though bodily mutilation. And then it becomes Nightmare Retardant again when you realize he looks like a creeper.
- One dedicated fan made a video showing what would happen if a Brute Servant came knocking on your door. You'll never sleep comfortably in your own home ever again.
- Even though he is very friendly and helpful, sometimes too helpful. Agrippa can still give you a Jump Scare the first time you see him.
- The Servants owe a huge part of their creepiness to the fact that, normally, you never really get a good look at them (if you can see them, your vision blurs, and what's more it makes it easier for them to track you, which serves as a discouragement from peeking at them). Nothing quite as creepy as hiding from a monster which you only know as a vague shape.
- The monster in the Justine expansion. It gets worse when you realize you can occasionally hear it saying "How did this happen?"
- The suitors origins. While the grunts are like meat puppets. The suitors are just regular people horribly tortured into what they are, there no supernatural means used on them. They are blind and have chains on their limbs and cart wheels somehow attached on their necks.
- Malo, in the Justine expansion. Just...everything about him. Especially if he kills you and he makes a noise that sounds disturbingly like...gnawing.
- Some of the messages written in blood in Amnesia Justine are REALLY screwed up. Some that stick out are "Death shall move across the floor", "They who burrow waits beneath", "Stay alive", "Lonely", "Suffer the trial" Made worse by the fact you sanity meter will decrese the moment you enter the tunnels and won't stop going down untill you find the exit. What could possibly have gone through Justine's twisted mind to make her write those messages...In blood no less.
- After dealing with a rather annoying puzzle involving slides, you proceed to a large storage room that is rather well-lit. Then, a sudden gust extinguishes all lighting in the room, and the door inexplicably locks behind you. Then, the uncanny combination of clanking chains and wheezing heralds the beginning of a monstrous hide-and-seek game against a blind foe who attempts to track you through sound. Pray you don't slip and knock over a chair.
- To emphasize the danger you are in, Justine, who up to this point remained unperturbed by the horrors she has witnessed, is now fighting (unsuccessfully) to suppress her fear. This can result in situations where the creature is not 2 meters away, and you are trying to desperately drag yourself away from the gasping abomination.
- La Caza will ruin suits of armor for you.
- In the mod "White Night", you're walking up a flight of stairs after (maybe) finding a key when you suddenly see a note... And it tells you to run and not look back... Suddenly, creepy music begins playing as loud sounds sound from behind you...
- The 'Tenebris Lake' mod has some pretty horrific moments, due to the new monsters. The most common monster for one looks like a rotten corpse and hits like a Brute. The "goat" monster you find later in the game. Even Agrippa is made terrifying due to being locked in a room with him and after a short while, he breaks free of his chains and attacks you.
- Also if you have claustrophobia, you will hate near the end of the game where you have to navigate though a small tunnel. Especially when it starts caving in, and later when a corpse starts chasing you.
- The 'Things in the night' as a whole. Not only are Brutes more common, the Suitors also make an appearance and there are flaming corpses that can hit you like a Grunt. From jump scares involving armors and statues, giant spiders, many jump scares from corpses and absolutely chilling enviroments, to the many horrifying moments, sudden warnings that something is coming to get you, monsters that can appear at ANY time, and the fact that, no matter what you do, there's no good end to the story. Particularly, in the basement of one of the houses you visit, you can find a gigantic spider with tons of corpses literally hanging around the basement, with smaller, but still huge spiders over the corpses. And these dangling corpses are all over the mansion, covered in the Shadow's Meat Moss. You can only wonder what exactly all of those corpses went through...
- The Disponentia custom story, which takes place in a haunted house. First, there's a scene right at the beginning where a woman is seen playing a piano in a room lit only by red lights...and the woman suddenly turns to the screen and lunges at you.And the house that serves as the main scenario for the game is haunted by said woman who can strike you anytime...anywhere... all while an undentifiable noise is heard. Then, when you head to the second floor, you see it's quite dark...and then a freakin' Servant Brute comes out of nowhere running at a speed faster than you can react to. And it happens ''twice'' Granted, this part is only a Jump Scare, but still damn horrifying.
- The stone maze from the 'Lost the lights' mod. Take a wrong route, you get a Jump Scare involving the transformed Alexander portrait. Try another route, and you get surrounded by Servant Brutes and Grunts with no chance of escape. They literally come out of NOWHERE.
- "The Cruel ways of Dr. Richard Jones" mod, period. Nothing Is Scarier personified, with a Jump Scare on each corner while you venture through an empty mansion...all while NO MUSIC PLAYS, adding even more fuel for the fear.
- The "Gustav" mod. Two words: Giant. Agrippa.◊.
- "Emma's story" has one of the most horrifying moments out of all the Custom Stories. You need to find drill parts to proceed at one point, and all of the parts are within the Torture Chambers. Wouldn't be so bad...expect you have to go through hallucinations of going through the tortures caused by the devices, including the Brazen Bull, an Iron Maiden and the worst of them, The device where you get hung upside down and sawed through your pelvis. Did we mention that we get a full description of what the people who actually suffered those tortures felt back then, the most disturbing of them being the last one, where the tortured mentions blood rushing to his head, making it take longer for him to bleed to death?